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Body Training Plateaus: Like Death and Taxes, They're Going to Happen

Your training has been going great. You've been making gains in weight and reps and your muscles are growing.

Then suddenly, you reach that dreaded "training plateau." You're using the same weight for the same number of reps, but no growth.

You have found a program that works and for six months it did, but then you notice that it no longer gives you that same pump or tires you quite as much. You have become conditioned to the routine.

Almost all growth comes in spurts and human growth is no different. It seems that we struggle with a particular weight or exercise for weeks, and then one day we leap past that obstacle and grow until the next plateau.

Sports physiologists have evolved an approach to training that solves most of the plateau problems. In one word, CHANGE. Making changes in any aspect of your regimen will overcome training plateaus.

In fact, experienced bodybuilders are constantly making changes so they avoid most of these flat periods in their training and overcoming sticking points in muscle growth.

Change Your Exercises:

Don't adhere to a strict routine for more than three months. Sure you want to work the same muscles, but used different exercises.

Work up a series of exercise programs with different exercises for the same muscles. Every three months, switch your program.

In this manner your muscles do not become acclimated to one routine. The changes you make will cause the muscles to react differently, thus they continue to grow and improve in performance.

Switch from high rep/high sets/light weights to low reps/high sets/ heavy weights. This will keep 'shocking' the muscles and you will continue to improve. Change back and forth between free weights and machines.

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Change the Order in Which You Workout:

The order in which you work your muscles should also be changed periodically.

Make a practice of beginning with a different muscle group for each workout session. In the "olden days" of bodybuilding this was referred to as the muscle priority system.

This principle evolved when it was observed that the first muscles worked got the most of your energy, thus they got the best pump.

Shifting the order of the exercises will enable to get the most benefit from the workout, one muscle group at a time.

Change the Time of Your Workouts

Shifting the time of your workouts will also keep your body from getting in an exercise rut. Try working out early in the morning or at lunchtime or before dinner.

Keep moving the times around from month to month, or whatever period fits best with your schedule.

Change Your Diet

Changing the foods you eat and the times you eat them will also keep your body growth in a state of flux.

Your metabolism will be constantly adjusting and will not become too acclimated to a particular feeding routine.

Change the supplements you take or vary the amounts you consume.

Change is Good: Varying all of the aforementioned elements of your exercise program, diet and lifestyle will either eliminate most of your training plateaus or at least keep them to a minimum and in check. Your training will be more interesting and enjoyable while continuing to build muscle.

Be sure and keep written records of your various weight lifting programs and set up a schedule of when you are going to incorporate the changes. A well maintained workout ledger will keep you organized and on track.

The motto of your workout regimen will be, "The only thing constant is CHANGE (and growth)." We are all creatures of habit and changing your routine to facilitate progress will become a habit, too.

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